Alaskan Muck: Frank C Hibben

Wherever there’s Alaskan muck there’s academic mud-slinging.

The Rise and Fall of Frank Hibben
Once upon a time Frank Hibben was a popular and inspiring archaeologist.

Frank Cumming Hibben (1910-2002) was a well-known archaeologist whose research focused on the U.S. Southwest.

As a professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and writer of popular books and articles, he inspired many people to study archaeology.

Nowadays, Frank Hibben isn’t flavour of the month.

He was also controversial, being suspected of scientific fraud during his studies of Paleo-Indian cultures.[citation needed]

He might might even be described as persona non grata.

Frank Hibben … faked results … apparent faking of research over many decades … Researchers in the field even refer to data contortions as ‘hibbenisms’ … Scientific publications over the past 25 years have questioned or disproved several of his most noted discoveries … they found Hibben’s claim to be false…

University buildings named on shaky ground – Rex Dalton
Nature 426 – 374 – 27 Nov 2003

However, his three part decline and fall narrative is far from convincing.

1 – Pre-Clovis Artefacts
His discovery of pre-Clovis artefacts was controversial.

The primary source of the controversies was Hibben’s claim to have found a deposit with pre-Clovis artifacts (including projectile points, which he termed “Sandia points”) in Sandia Cave (in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico).

Hibben believed the layers to be about 25,000 years old, much older than the Paleo-Indian cultures previously documented in the U.S. Southwest.

His pre-Clovis finds threaten to disrupt the human migration gravy-train that’s produced a string of settled science hits: Out of Africa, Last Glacial Maximum, Beringia Migration Routes, Clovis First…

The “Clovis first theory” refers to the 1950s hypothesis that the Clovis culture represents the earliest human presence in the Americas, beginning about 13,000 years ago; evidence of pre-Clovis cultures has accumulated since 2000, pushing back the possible date of the first peopling of the Americas to about 13,200–15,500 years ago.

Sandia Cave, also called the Sandia Man Cave, is an archaeological site near Bernalillo, New Mexico, within Cibola National Forest.

First discovered and excavated in the 1930s, the site exhibits evidence of human use from 9,000 to 11,000 years ago.

In the ensuing bun fight some custard pies targeted Frank Hibben.

Instead, some researchers believe that artifacts were “salted” (fraudulently placed) in the cave deposits to support the notion of the “Sandia Man” occupation.

Those who believe that fraud was committed often suspect Hibben of being involved in the fraud.

But even Wikipedia concedes the “evidence is inconclusive” regarding accusations of fraud.

The evidence is inconclusive, however, and Hibben maintained his innocence in the matter until his death.[citation needed]

And, more to the point, there’s evidence that supports his pre-Clovis dating.

Review of the controversy surrounding the excavation of Sandia cave, New Mexico, and infrared Raman laser studies of the existing specimens from the site suggests the probability of a pre-Clovis occupation at the site.

Pleistocene fauna attributed by Hibben to his Folsom layer quite probably belong to Haynes and Agogino’s more recently defined Unit F.

This was apparently the original locus of the Sandia points, and it has produced pre-Clovis dates.

Sandia Cave Reconsidered – Charles H McNutt
North American Archaeologist – Volume 37 Issue 3 – July 2016

This is no real surprise – landmasses migrate with passengers.

2 – Los Lunas Decalogue Stone
His interpretation of the Decalogue Stone inscription became controversial.

The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone is a large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles (56 km) south of Albuquerque, that bears a very regular inscription carved into a flat panel.

The first recorded mention of the stone is in 1933, when the late professor Frank Hibben (1910-2002), an archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, saw it.

According to a 1996 interview, Hibben was “convinced the inscription is ancient and thus authentic. He report[ed] that he first saw the text in 1933. At the time it was covered with lichen and patination and was hardly visible. He claimed he was taken to the site by a guide who claimed he had seen it as a boy, back in the 1880s.”

Some commentators believe the inscription is genuine.

Archaeolinguist Cyrus Gordon has proposed that the Los Lunas Decalogue is a Samaritan mezuzah. … Gordon regards the Byzantine period as the most likely for the inscription. The Samaritan alphabet is a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.

The geologist George E. Morehouse, reporting in ESOP volume 13 (1985), found patina indicative of an age from 500 – 2,000 years, and Fell, reporting in the same volume, noted that the punctuation matched that of ancient Greek manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century A.D.

America B.C. – Barry Fell – 1989 Edition

Others believe the inscription is a forgery.

Other researchers dismiss the inscription based on the numerous stylistic and grammatical errors that appear in the inscription.

According to archaeologist Kenneth Feder, “the stone is almost certainly a fake.”

British Archeologist Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews has concluded that “Viewed dispassionately, the Los Lunas inscription is a clear, but well constructed forgery (for its day).

The evidence for its origin is poor, but a comparison with the Bat Creek Stone suggests that it was a Mormon forgery.

In essence, the bun fight revolves around a difference of opinion.

The reported 1880s date of discovery is important to those who believe that the stone is pre-Columbian. However, the Paleo-Hebrew script, which is closely related to the Phoenician script, was well known by at least 1870, thus not precluding the possibility of a modern hoax.

I have also interviewed Prof. Frank Hibben, local historian and archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, who is convinced the inscription is ancient and thus authentic. He reports that he first saw the text in 1933. At the time it was covered with lichen and patination and was hardly visible. He was taken to the site by a guide who had seen it as a boy, back in the 1880s. Thus we have eye-witness evidence, going back over a hundred years, that the inscription existed. This alone is impressive, since it is rather preposterous to imagine some pranksters or forgers operating with a knowledge of paleo-Hebrew in the late 1800s, when this ancient alphabet was not even fully known to the scholars.

An Ancient Hebrew Inscription in New Mexico: Fact or Fraud?
James D Tabor – United Israel Bulletin 59 – Summer 1997

However, high minded academia is not above deploying guilt by accusation.

However, Hibben’s testimony is tainted by charges that in at least two separate incidents, he fabricated some or all of his archaeological data to support his pre-Clovis migration theory.

3 – Chinitna Bay Site
His 1943 finds in Chinitna Bay were controversial.

In 1943, Hibben described a visit to Chinitna Bay on the west side of Cook Inlet in Alaska, where he reported finding Yuma-like projectile points like those found at the Clovis Site in New Mexico and a projectile point similar to those produced by the Folsom culture, who lived on the High Plains and adjacent regions 10,000 years ago.

In addition to the projectile points, he reported finding mammoth bones.

Thirty-five years later his finds became “questionable” and “probably invalid”.

A later investigation of the geology and geoarchaeology of Chinitna Bay using personal notes, photographs, and directions personally supply by Hibben successfully relocated the locations and strata from which the mammoth bones, Yuma-like projectile points, and projectile point “possibly affiliated with, Folsom” were reported.

They found that the strata in which Hibben reported finding Folsom- and Yuma-like projectile points and mammoths bones all accumulated during the Late Holocene in “a muddy, intertidal environment”.

As result, they concluded that the projectile points are not associated with any Paleo-Indian cultures and the identification of the bones as being those of a mammoth is questionable.[citation needed]

The challenge is based upon the settled science of radiocarbon dating.

An extensive ancient archeologic site containing lithic artifacts and associated with mammoth remains was reported at Chinitna Bay, southern Alaska in 1943.

The presence of such a site adjacent to the continental shelf at the base of the rugged Aleutian Range suggested that humans may have inhabited the inner shelf environment during the late Pleistocene at times of lowered sea level.

Because of the site’s potential significance, an interdisciplinary research team relocated and reinvestigated the area in 1978, but failed to find evidence of prehistoric human habitation.

Geologic studies and radiocarbon dating indicate that the strata reported at the site are intertidal in origin, very late Holocene in age, and have undergone significant tectonic movement in the recent past.

These observations indicate that the previously published observations of the Chinitna Bay site are probably invalid.

A reported early-man site adjacent to southern Alaska’s continental shelf:
A geologic solution to an archeologic enigma
R M Thorson, D C Plaskett, and E J Dixon Jr
Quaternary Research – Volume 13, Issue 2 – March 1980

Some commentators suggest there’s insufficient information.

In classes at the University of New Mexico, archaeologist Bruce Huckell provides articles on these interpretations to students. “Some think Hibben’s work is all faked,” says Huckell. “Others think we don’t have enough information to know.”

University buildings named on shaky ground – Rex Dalton
Nature 426 – 374 – 27 Nov 2003

Some suggest the Chinitna Bay site never existed.

But in 1978, when archaeologist James Dixon and others returned to the isolated location, they found Hibben’s claim to be false. “It is clear that the site never existed,” says Dixon, now at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

University buildings named on shaky ground – Rex Dalton
Nature 426 – 374 – 27 Nov 2003

This commentator remarks:

a) The “very late Holocene” result for Frank Hibben’s Chinitna Bay site is not entirely unreasonable because radiocarbon dating can be a fickle friend when it comes to dating sites and bones.

In fact:

This bun fight is particularly capricious because radiocarbon dating has turned the extinction of the mammoth into a very curious movable feast.

The woolly mammoth … disappeared from its mainland range at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 years ago… populations survived on St. Paul Island until 5,600 years ago and on Wrangel Island until 4,000 years ago.

It’s so curious it qualifies for it’s own post – stay tuned.

b) Challenging his ability to identify mammoth bones seems ill advised.

A later investigation of the geology and geoarchaeology of Chinitna Bay… found that the strata in which Hibben reported finding… mammoths bones… accumulated during the Late Holocene in “a muddy, intertidal environment”. As result, they concludedthe identification of the bones as being those of a mammoth is questionable.

Frank Hibben in Modern Times
The trials and tribulations of Frank Hibben reflect the widespread abandonment of the scientific method as academia slowly embraced settled science after 1945.

Stated differently:

It’s likely the controversial works of Frank Hibben would be rejected [or very seriously mauled] by the modern mainstream gatekeepers overseeing the publication peer-review process.


Attacking the man suggests he’s identified another settled science SNAFU.

A Cataclysm of C Words
Underlying the trials and tribulations of Frank Hibben are a series of C Words that are best avoided in the polite company of settled scientists.

The headline C Word is Catastrophism.

In this category Frank Hibben and Immanuel Velikovsky are serial offenders.

In Alaska
In Alaska, to the north of Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, the Tanana River joins the Yukon. From the Tanana Valley and the valleys of its tributaries gold is mined out of gravel and “muck.” This muck is a frozen mass of animals and trees.

F. Rainey of the University of Alaska described the scene:

“Wide cuts, often several miles in length and sometimes as much as 140 feet in depth, are now being sluiced out along stream valleys tributary to the Tanana Fairbanks District. In order to reach gold-bearing gravel beds an overburden of frozen silt or ‘muck’ is removed with hydraulic giants. This ‘muck’ contains enormous numbers of frozen bones of extinct animals such as the mammoth, mastodon, super-bison and horse.”

These animals perished in rather recent times; present estimates place their extinction at the end of the Ice Age or in early post-glacial times. The soil of Alaska covered their bodies together with those of animals of species still surviving.

Under what conditions did this great slaughter take place, in which millions upon millions of animals were torn limb from limb and mingled with uprooted trees?

F. C. Hibben of the University of New Mexico writes:

“Although the formation of the deposits of muck is not clear, there is ample evidence that at least portions of this material were deposited under catastrophic conditions. Mammal remains are for the most part dismembered and disarticulated, even though some fragments yet retain, in their frozen state, portions of ligaments, skin, hair and flesh. Twisted and torn trees are piled in splintered masses. … At least four considerable layers of volcanic ash may be traced in these deposits, although they are extremely warped and distorted .”

F. C. Hibben, “Evidence of Early Man in Alaska,”
American Antiquity, VIII (1943), 256

Could it be that a volcanic eruption killed the animal population of Alaska, the streams carrying down into the valleys the bodies of the slaughtered animals?

A volcanic eruption would have charred the trees but would not have uprooted and splintered them; if it killed animals, it would not have dismembered them.

The presence of volcanic ash indicates that a volcanic eruption did take place, and repeatedly, in four consecutive stages of the same epoch; but it is also apparent that the trees could have been uprooted and splintered only by hurricane or flood or a combination of both agencies.

Earth In Upheaval – Immanuel Velikovsky – 1955
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

There are best unsaid C Words like Carnage and Carcass.

In this category Frank Hibben was an inspirational commentator.

Throughout the Alaskan mucks, too, there is evidence of atmospheric disturbances of unparalleled violence.

Mammoth and bison alike were torn and twisted as though by a cosmic hand in godly rage.

In one place, we can find the foreleg and shoulder of a mammoth with portions of the flesh and the toenails and the hair still clinging to the blackened bones.

Close by is the neck and skull of a bison with the vertebrae clinging together with tendons and ligaments and the chitinous covering of the horns intact.

There is no mark of a knife or cutting implement.

The animals were simply torn apart and scattered over the landscape like things of straw and string, even though some of them weighed several tons.

Mixed with the piles of bones are trees, also twisted and torn and piled in tangled groups; and the whole is covered with the fine sifting muck, then frozen solid.

The Lost Americans – Frank C Hibben – 1946

Amazon UK:

And beyond the outrageous C Words is the unforgivable F Bomb.

The Hibben Heresy
In 1941 Frank Hibben committed the ultimate settled science sin.

In two short sentences Frank falsified the Doctrine of Uniformity.

With this climatic evidence the deposition of the Alaska mucks may be presumed to have occurred under conditions similar to those of today.

In spite of this fact, however, no such deposition may be demonstrated to be in progress at the present time nor, indeed, has the mode of deposition been adequately determined up to the present date.

Archaeological Aspects of the Alaska Muck Deposits
Frank Hibben
New Mexico Anthropologist – Volume 5 – Issue 4 – Article 2 – 1941

Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.

It refers to invariance in the metaphysical principles underpinning science, such as the constancy of cause and effect throughout space-time, but has also been used to describe spatiotemporal invariance of physical laws.

Though an unprovable postulate that cannot be verified using the scientific method, uniformitarianism has been a key first principle of virtually all fields of science.

And with those two short sentences gradualism fittingly falls to the ground.

In geology, uniformitarianism has included the gradualistic concept that “the present is the key to the past” and that geological events occur at the same rate now as they have always done, though many modern geologists no longer hold to a strict gradualism.

Ever since Frank Hibben stated the bleedin’ obvious the mainstream has pretended their dead doctrine is alive and kicking by nailing it to a podium.

‘E’s not pinin’!
‘E’s passed on!
This parrot is no more!
He has ceased to be!
‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker!
‘E’s a stiff!
Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace!

If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!

‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory!
‘E’s off the twig!
‘E’s kicked the bucket,
‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil,
run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!


Monty Python Scripts – Dead Parrot

The “Dead Parrot Sketch“, alternatively and originally known as the “Pet Shop Sketch” or “Parrot Sketch”, is a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

It was written by John Cleese and Graham Chapman and initially performed in the show’s first series, in the eighth episode (“Full Frontal Nudity”, which first aired 7 December 1969).

Imagine that!

This farce is routinely performed in music lecture halls across the globe.

James Hutton FRSE (1726-1797) was a Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism —a fundamental principle of geology— that explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a science, and as a result he is referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology”.

Siccar Point is a rocky promontory in the county of Berwickshire on the east coast of Scotland. It is famous in the history of geology for Hutton’s Unconformity found in 1788, which James Hutton regarded as conclusive proof of his uniformitarian theory of geological development.

The peculiarity of this funny business is that it’s meant to be taken seriously.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Alaskan Muck, Books, Catastrophism, Earth, Geology, History, Radiocarbon Dating, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Alaskan Muck: Frank C Hibben

  1. craigm350 says:

    Graham Hancock was looking into this a couple of years back and discusses Hibben and his work:

  2. craigm350 says:

    Having heard quite a few of Hancocks talks it looks like he’s digging into this with focus on the YD event. One of the links in the piece above pointed here (may have been a comment):

    This make me perk up (emphasis added):

    On a journey to track down this mystery I visited Rick Firestone at Berkeley National Laboratories. Rick ran the world’s first cyclotron and is the quintessential expert on isotopes and radioactive decay. Intrigued as myself he had relentlessly dug around mammoth and the concurrent “Carolina Bay” crater sites to uncover legitimate keys to the puzzle. in specific layers of earth was evidence that pointed to the cosmological origin of the megafauna’s instantaneous death.

    Many of the mammoth tusks were peppered with tiny iron particles driven deep into the ivory. More they were surrounded with nano diamonds, carbon spherules and radioactive (isotopic) beryllium, iridium and other evidence of a devastating and deadly atomic fusillade. Curiously this mass destruction layer was separated from future deposits by what he called a black vegetative matt.Beyond that new species immediately took over.


  3. johnm33 says:

    “black vegetative mass” In the aftermath of the scenario I’m looking at most surfaces not covered by flash frozen seawater would be both wet and salty, some would drain quickly some would persist for millenia[?], Eventually draining to the ocean, landlocked seas, saline aquifers or salt lakes/flats of which there are a remarkable number, so salt marshes dried/washed out and compressed =b,v.m.. The rapid takeover by ‘new’ species would be the drift downhill of mountain/upland species who were lucky enough not to be carried off as the planets rotation stopped and high or lucky enough for the ensuing flood to bypass them. The polar bear having a genetic connection to the Himalayas being an example.
    It’s very difficult to imagine the whole expanse of the Pacific/Atlantic opening without serious heating of the oceans, or even there being enough water from a smaller sphere to fill the basins as we see them. How different are the variously dated expansion stripes in the ocean chemically? Does anyone know of alternative dating systems for them?

  4. malagabay says:

    Very interesting quote! Thank you. Tim

  5. craigm350 says:

    Continuing to look into this and Siberia Muck:

    On the southern coast of New-Siberia, he [Hedenström] says, are found the remarkable Wood Hills. They are 30 fathoms [55 m] high, and consist of horizontal strata of sandstone, alternating with strata of bituminous beams or trunks of trees. On ascending these hills, fossilized charcoal is everywhere met with, covered apparently with ashes; but, on closer examination, this ash is also found to be a petrifaction, and so hard that it can scarcely be scraped off with a knife. On the summit another curiosity is found, namely, a long row of beams resembling the former, but fixed perpendicularly in the sandstone. The ends, which project from seven to ten inches [20-30 cm], are for the most part broken. The whole has the appearance of a ruinous dike. (Wrangell 173, fn)

    Good look at the tree line – Tim how does the tree line then vs now square with your swing state graphic? Just curious if it lines up as well.

    The multiple references in the article above may be of interest. I’m reading more from the same author, so we shall see what else gets dredged up.

  6. malagabay says:

    Interesting link… and the modern tree line graphic is very telling.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have an ancient tree line graphic…

  7. craigm350 says:

    Ah. I may have seen something. Vaguely dings a bell. May take a while but I’ll have a hunt to see if there’s anything in the literature and then put it forward.

  8. moonkoon says:

    Hi Malagabay, thanks for this great blog.

    …Mammoth and bison alike were torn and twisted as though by a cosmic hand in godly rage.

    This sort of damage is what could be expected in very energetic mud flows. Flows which could have resulted from liquefaction,.perhaps. The presence of gold in close proximity with the muck also suggests that it arrived at its present location ‘en masse’, rather than by way of any piecemeal deposition process, in my opinion at least.

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